Iwill let you into a secret. I have never liked pink. Never ever.
The other realisation that has slowly been dawning on me over the summer is quite how much pink I had planted in my cutting garden. Sometimes though you have to admit to a change of heart even after your mind has been dead set against pink for quite a lengthy period of time. Now I confess I am glad for the happy accident of my pink planting as it seems that pink has literally grown on me.
Pink never goes out of fashion. There have been many a bridal bouquet designed with a request for pink and this trend so no sign of abating. I can understand why. Pink can be muted and soft and romantic or bright and bold and brazen with any colour in between. Even in my non pink liking days, I could concede to its versatility.
Quite frankly, it is my Labyrinth dahlia’s that have led the charge in my change of pink sensibilities. That, and the Jowey Winnie dahlias with their wonderful sculptured heads of floral loveliness. Oh, and did I mention the madam butterfly snapdragons in cool and warm pinks that are the perfect colour match to offset those rather showy labyrinths.
Other ingredients include zinnia’s, yes, in pink. Phlox creme brûlée is another smaller flowered addition with its amazing mixed palette of muted soft, yes, you’ve guessed it, shades of pink.
In all of these glorious pink blooms there is a hint of yellow, either in the shade of a petal or a stamen. I am rather fond of that rather underrated colour and I know I am far from alone in thinking this. I added in the small bright yellow flowers of my salad rocket. Yes it had gone to seed but it was the only plant that I had to provide that pop of zingy yellow colour I wanted in my cutting garden. I have plans afoot to grow more yellow.
The design of this wild garden style pink summer bridal bouquet was enhanced with a few final key ingredients cut from the paddock. I know they look dead and brown and uninteresting but their stiff stems are great for providing a frame for fresh florals. In a weird way, they give the fresh blooms more life. The fresh florals feel like they have more colour. Dried material adds an amazing textural contrast, so I love to add them.
Dahlia’s are tricky girls to design with. Yes, often they have nice robust stems but this is to support their heavy heads which often point in only one direction, and that one direction needs to be carefully placed in a bouquet. What I’ve learned is to arrange them with care and always in the direction they want to go. It is disastrous to attempt to bend their stems as all that happens is they snap. I have found that they behave themselves best when they are placed in a frame so they almost support each other or on a chicken wire grid when they can nestle together on top of their hidden support.
Other flowers need to be in scale and proportion for the bouquet to look aesthetically pleasing. This requires careful consideration for those heads are, well, they are large! I often add groups of smaller flower heads like zinnias to provide differences in shape and and grouping make the size aspect work with the larger dahlia heads. A key design element for such bold blooms is the inclusion of rhythm and movement. Ironically, I have found by inserting dried floral material including various seed heads throughout the dahlia bouquet and around the outside to finish it, this allows your eye to be led throughout the design.
The following describes the design contribution of each element to the this wild garden style dahlia bouquet:
- Labyrinth and Jowey Winnie dahlias- the huge cactus and round heads are the dominant focal flowers with further design interest provided by their differing sizes and shapes.
- Madam Butterfly Antirrhinum - Spikes of frilly florals in the perfect matching hue to Labyrinth
Dried seeds heads - Dried cow parsley and dock seed heads were used together as both the base of the bouquet and also for their texture.
- Flowering Salad Rocket - small zingy pops of citrus yellow flowers that highlight the yellow hues found in all the other florals
- Phlox creme brûlée - Stems of flowers that look like their flowers have been painted in differing pale pink shades - this variety is amazing as it provides just the most perfect light and airy transitional material
- Zinnia - small pretty round faces with beautiful unique patterns that add pretty floral texture when they are grouped in the arrangement.
What I have realised is I have grown enough flowers and foliage to be able to gather the ingredients for a wild garden style pink summer bridal bouquet from my very own cutting garden. It is rather lovely to be able to do that. It allows me to pick the best of what is truly seasonal and experiment with both the shape and contents of my wild garden style designs. Autumn feels like it is in the air mind you, so I plan to create a few more of these in the seasonal moment bridal bouquets before the abundance of summer leaves us.
I seek to create bouquets from my cutting garden to capture a quite unique moment in time, a gathering of nature's own clock. It makes me look at everything that is there in a way that I would not normally do so. I have learned to stop fighting with my canalside cutting garden. The soil is clay. I have quite a few trees. I grow what thrives in those conditions rather than forcibly attempting to plant florals and foliage that just sit there and sulk. I have learnt finally to let mother nature guide me on the design for my wild garden style pink summer bridal bouquet.
What I have realised is I have grown enough flowers and foliage to be able to gather the ingredients for a wild garden style pink summer bridal bouquet from my very own cutting garden. It is rather lovely to be able to do that.
Wild garden style design is about designing bouquets with flowers that reflect each moment of the season. They speak to a moment in the season. Their appearance make us reflective of seasons past, so rooted are they in their timeliness.
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